My career change into recruitment

Xiran Ding

Xiran Ding previously worked as a hedge fund accountant in JP Morgan and HSBC before making the move into recruitment in 2012.

Having originally applied to Robert Walters as a candidate, she now works as a senior consultant in the funds division of our Dublin office.

How did you get into recruitment?

“I first came to Robert Walters as a candidate to discuss opportunities at Goldman Sachs. At the time I was looking for a new role that was more client focused, but where I could still use my professional skills. My consultant spoke to me about opportunities in recruitment and I was really interested. I then met with the MD of the Irish business, Louise Campbell. What really sold the role to me was the fact that I would be working on a non-commission basis, the client facing aspect of the job, and finally Louise herself, who really impressed me and who was someone I was keen to work with.

How does recruitment compare to your previous role?

Recruitment is extremely fast paced. Compared to working in hedge funds where there are set deadlines for everything, recruitment can be very reactive and you will sometimes have to prioritise certain roles that come across your desk. Something that surprised me when I joined was the huge emphasis on training and the way in which that training was delivered. It was extremely structured and I was given a great deal of support right from the outset.

For me, recruitment is more rewarding on a personal level. For example, I recently had a great candidate who’d been working in banking for 20 years and lost her job. I managed to find her a new role within three weeks and she was so happy when I secured her offer that she cried and laughed at the same time! I genuinely like helping people so it’s a role with great job satisfaction in that respect.

Transferable skills

I recruit specifically for hedge fund roles so my skills were extremely transferable. Coming into this role from an industry background and having that expert knowledge has been a huge help, and gives me a lot of credibility amongst my clients. The kind of roles I recruit for now are the same roles I was hiring for my team, when I worked in hedge funds, so I have a great deal of insight into what hiring managers are really looking for.

The culture at Robert Walters

There’s an amazing work environment in the Dublin office - we’re really like a family. One of the best things about working here is the support you get within the business. Even if it’s for the smallest thing, people will go out of their way to help you. We’re extremely dedicated and hard working - but we like to have fun as well. We’re a very social team and are lucky to have offices in such a great location. On Friday nights, we’ll have team drinks and head out to one of the local bars in the area. Every quarter we’ll have a major team night out and there’s also top biller lunches and regular events.

Advice to those considering recruitment

For anyone who is thinking of making the move into recruitment, I would say it’s important to be driven, competitive and really want to succeed. If you are looking for a role that is more client facing, where you can utilise your professional experience, then recruitment is a great career choice. It gives you the opportunity to be entrepreneurial, as you have ownership of your own desk, and in that way it feels like you own a piece of the business.

The most important thing to me when considering changing careers was choosing a company with a great reputation and a strong position in the market. Robert Walters had that and it was definitely the right move for me.”

If you are looking for a role that is more client facing, where you can utilise your professional experience, then recruitment is a great career choice.

Inspired by Xiran's story? Find out how Mel Clark made the successful leap from teaching to recruitment.

If you think you'd like to use the skills developed whilst working in accounting, please send your CV to or call +353 1 633 4111.

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